The best medical scientists and medical practitioners are those that are on the leading edge of research and who are willing to explore new options for their clients. Both western medicine and traditional eastern medicines have become partners in addressing issues such as chronic pain. Chronic pain can be quite debilitating, impacting all aspects of a person’s life. For this reason many patients suffering from chronic pain are more open to the idea of alternative methods and are more willing to explore other options. One of these types of alternative methods or treatments is stem cell based therapy.
Stem cells have the potential to cure many human diseases because they are not yet specialized and can become any type of cell in the human body; they are regenerative and can be used as an endless supply of live cells for self-repair. Stem cells are identical biological-cells that can grow into almost any specialized-tissues.
Bone marrow transplants of stem cells have been used for over 30 years to treat cancer patients with leukemia and/or lymphoma. In 2012, stem cell therapy was also conditionally approved for the management of acute graft-vs-host disease in children who are unresponsive to steroids. In 2013, a clinical trial was underway in Scotland, injecting stem cells into the brains of stroke patients, and studies are underway to address the use of stem cell treatment for brain and spinal cord injuries.
New research has been focusing on various uses of stem cell treatments for neurodegenerative diseases and conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and other conditions. Trial studies have noted the potential of injecting stem cells into healthy people to help repair cartilage to address physical acute pain, such as that which is caused by knee injuries.
How are stem cells harvested?
One of the greatest controversies around the use of stem cell based treatments is the use of human embryonic stem cells. Opposition to the use of these stem cells is based on moral, religious and often philosophic challenges. It is important to note that not all stem cell research involves the destruction of a human embryo, but involves the use of adult stem cells, amniotic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells.
There are three main ways that stem cells are harvested: from bone marrow, circulating (peripheral) blood or umbilical cord blood. Harvested bone marrow from the pelvic bone provides the most concentrated amount of stem cells (10-100 times more concentrated). Harvesting stem cells from peripheral (circulating) blood is done on an outpatient basis – it takes 3-4 hours and can be repeated over a number of days to collect enough stem cells for a transplant – this is the least effective way to gather stem cells. The last way stem cells are collected is from umbilical cord blood: blood is collected from the umbilical cord shortly after a baby is born. The stem cells are frozen and stored by cord blood banks until they are needed.
Capitol Pain Institute
At Capitol Pain Institute, we are progressive in our approach to treatments, and thus we provide an option for stem-cell-based therapies. Our Founder, Dr. Matthew Schocket, ensures his team is always on the leading edge with respect to knowledge about progressive and innovative pain management. If all other methods do not provide the required results, then we will work with you to ensure you understand all alternative options as well. For more information or to arrange a consultation, contact us at (512) 467-7246.